bending time and finding connections

when i read this article today, about how evil ys is and how much we’ve embraced eastern religious practices (no, apparently, the author doesn’t get that these are christian practices that have been around for hundreds, if not thousands, of years), my mind went into one of those 3-dimensional space-time bending things, and popped onto this article from the onion.

i think the connection is 4-bars, baby. but, then, maybe it’s just my eastern leanings whizzing me down the slippery slope of irrationalism.

26 thoughts on “bending time and finding connections”

  1. Man, I’m so glad that she contacted you (THE PRESIDENT OF YS) about the issue of “eastern practices” before sending out the article to thousands of people.

    Keep up the good work friend. I’ll see ya next week.

  2. Mark, honestly I have been a little concerned about YS and the involvement in the Emergent Church movement. The concept of the Labyrinth also has been a concern, but I see it as a method of reaching a different group, NOT the practice of Eastern Religions. I think Cathy’s article is a little off base, but I can see her concerns.

    As a long time YS supporter (since the mid 80’s) I was pleased to see YS drop some of the Emergent material and get back to what you do best (minister to youth and youthworkers). Also your offer to meet with Brett from Stand to Reason in your hot tub means a lot. Brett is a friend and I think you will like him.

    In His Grip, Mike …

  3. thanks for writing, mike, and for your generous tone. i can understand your concern about YS and the emerging church. however, as you might expect from me, i am convinced that god is doing some wonderful things through this group of people who are passionate about pursuing god and being the church. on the labyrinth, i could not encourage you more strongly to go through the labyrinth at one of our conventions and see how completely christ-centered and meaningful it is.

    brett didn’t leave his email address, BTW, and i’ve sent an email to a general address at STR. at this point, i haven’t heard back.

  4. The Onion article is hilarious because it is true. Kids I knew in rural Maryland weren’t allowed to attend church and their father would preach for 2-3 hours from long sermons he would print out from the net. Sad to say, they have now all ceased following Jesus. It is amazing what being isolated from community will do for you.

  5. well, no. we did have christian yoga (really, it’s STRETCHING!) at the national pastors convention. but we’re not doing that event any more. that lighthouse trails website has had a bug up their hiney about ys for years now. yac engaged them and tried to explain some things, but got nowhere. that site is her source for the piece i link to in this post.

  6. I’m curious … I’ve just recently started reading emergent authors, etc., and found I resonate with a lot of what they are saying. Why are you guys dropping the emergent line?

  7. I forgot to respond to the actual post … lol … too busy reading the comments. I find it sad when Christians are too busy focusing all their energies on slamming other Christian ministries. Just imagine if it was instead directed towards reaching the lost? I love that YS isn’t so narrowminded as to think worship can only be done one way.

  8. Amen! What’s up with ignoring Scripture when we have an issue against someone else? I believe that it is healthy to discuss/warn one another about our practices, but we are instructed to go to one another–this practice of writing articles against having not come to the supposed offender is ridiculous! Also, I agree with Matthew (about reaching the lost). I’m weary of Christians that feel like they must improve/refine their own faith and the faith of their followers before they can go and reach the lost! Learning/refining is great–but not at the cost of exclusion of our commission!

  9. matthew — our dropping of the emergentYS line IS NOT, in any way, a distancing from those peeps. it is only about our need to re-focus as an organization on our core calling: serving youth workers. it kind of became clear that the emergent stuff was my pet project, and wasn’t a missional driver for most of our staff.

    BTW, the line will continue – just not with us. Baker Books has a new deal with emergent to develop a new line, which will basically be the same thing.

  10. I didn’t think it was you guys distancing … I was just kinda bummed that when I finally realized emergent wasn’t a bad word and starting reading the books … it stopped! lol I thought no more was coming. : ) I just started “Stories of Emergence,” so far I’m really enjoying it.

  11. marko…

    you seem to get a lot of crap from different crowds within the church…. does it ever get to you?

    i just started blogging, I second guess myself every time i post… if i had people reading my blog and going after me, i would probably end up crying in a corner, tucked in a fetal position… (i’m using hyperbole, i would never actually cry… i’m no wuss).

    Does it ever get to you, or are you so focused that it rolls right off?

    thanks man…

  12. i bet man… looking forward to seeing you in sacto next weekend… we cant find a room in any hotel, so i may need to crash on your floor… dont worry, i’m clean.

  13. a friend/bandmate found this article that was printed shortly after the nashville convention… he was poking around and stumbled onto it as a response to the lighthouse trails website… dunno if you’ve seen it… kind of uplifting to read after reading the lighthouse website.

  14. Mark, if you want to send me an e-mail I will forward it to Brett directly. Maybe just your e-mail address so he can contact you.

    By The Way, thanks for the reply.

  15. I think the article is ridiculous on several levels. I have loved the Emergent YS lines! However, I think the change to more focus on youth ministry was a good idea. The last convention had a lot of getting in people’s faces and saying “are you with or against us”, and I am not sure that was too healthy.

  16. What do you ys people think you are doing!?!

    A 14-year-old girl having an experiencial encounter and conversation with Jesus after 15 minutes of contemplative prayer?


    Y’all should be ashamed of yourselves;-)

  17. after reading those two articles i was convinced they were both fakes….but at least most people realize the mumbo jumbo these folks spew….cya next week in sac.

  18. Brian McLaren, a YS speaker, has endorsed the back cover of Alan Jones book, Reimagining Christianity and yet in that very book, Jones says that the doctrine of the Cross is a vile doctrine. Youth Specialties also endorses and promotes futurist Leonard Sweet, but in Leonard Sweet’s book, Quantum Spirituality, he says that we need to discover four dimensional faith. He goes on to say: “Then, and only then, will earthlings have uncovered the meaning of these words, some of the last words poet/activist/contemplative/bridge between East and West Thomas Merton uttered: “We are already one. But we imagine that we are not. And what we have to recover is our original unity.” Thomas Merton believed that every human being had a Divine Center (with or without Christ) and said:”It is a glorious destiny to be a member of the human race, … now I realize what we all are …. If only they [people] could all see themselves as they really are …I suppose the big problem would be that we would fall down and worship each other … At the center of our being is a point of nothingness which is untouched by sin and by illusions, a point of pure truth … This little point …is the pure glory of God in us. It is in everybody.” There is an effort to merge Christianity with Eastern religions. Tilden Edwards, of Shalem Institute, said that contemplative prayer was the bridge between Christianity and Far Eastern religions. The question now is … when that merging happens, will true Christianity, which says that Jesus Christ is the only door to God, still be preached on the Earth?

  19. hey, this is cool. i’ve actually run into some books i want to read that the lighthouse trail blazer people had on their website. if they hate them, i’ll probably like them. easy review. i wonder if they think we need to give up christmas and easter and all those other fun, reflective, reminding holidays that are really weird-religious-rituals turned-christian. i am so not giving up christmas. anyway, i think i’ll go contemplate about walking a labrynth now…hopefully i don’t levitate.

  20. If you only limit yourself to reading and studying sources that you agree with 100%, then you are severely limiting your opportunities for growth. I recently read a book by someone who infuriated me … he enjoyed refering to God as a she, he claimed that those who believe people are going to hell are sick and depraved and ruining Christianity … and yet, he had some great stuff to say about prayer that provoked a lot of thought on my part. So I take what’s good and ignore what I believe to be wrong. Consequently, I grow. Just saying an author calls the cross a vile doctrine doesn’t really say much … what was the context of the comment? There are so many different ways a statement like that could be used. Lets face it, the cross certainly wasn’t beautiful – what it gave us is, but the ordeal itself? Vile. Only the depraved could come up with such a horrible and disgusting way to kill.

    Focus your energies on reaching the lost … not taking down other Christians. At the end of the day, if you really believe that you need to save Christianity from people you don’t agree with, then you really don’t believe in the power of God to protect His own message. Christianity is not going to disappear or merge with eastern religion because of YS or because you didn’t make enough of a stand. God can and does protect His Word and Church. Trust His power and love for His church, and follow the great commission! This kind of infighting just makes the church a joke to the world and isn’t worth it.

  21. I emailed her too and got a pretty intense reply and then I checked her website and realized that she is crusading against anyone and everyone in Christianity. She is calling out Dallas Th. Sem, Biola, Trinity, Rick Warren, Emergent, and Ken Blanchard in the same sentence. A strange group of bedfellows in my opinion.

    Oh no!!! Stop letting the kids pray and meditate!!! Stop it now!!!

  22. I just returned from the Pittsburgh convention and came across this BLOG for the first time.

    Ya know, the first time I ever saw Marko was about 9 years ago and I thought he was a little weird, but then again, he IS a middle school minister, so I let that haircut slide. But this article is just too much to swallow.

    I volunteered to work in Pittsburgh at the Labyrinth and spent almost 10 hours in that darkened room. Not one person complained about the room being ancient eastern spiritual voodoo crap, but there were more than one that encountered God.

    If YS is challenging all of us to JUMP into God’s arms, does it really matter how? As long as Jesus Christ as Savior is our focus, does it really matter? If I, at the age of 58, can coordinate a guided prayer walk to meet God and then go play 4-square with, and really connect with, youth pastors young enough to be my kids, have I introduced an evil practice (a game I learned 45 years ago), is that so evil?

    I think not. What I do think is that Cathy is just a little misguided and I will pray for her.

    Rock on, Marko! Rock on, YS.

    I am NOT ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes, first for the Jew then for the Gentile.
    Romans 1:16

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